Sustain.Life wants to be the Slack for small business carbon accounting


For the last six years Sustain.Life founder Annalee Bloomfield was focused on making digital products that would make it easier for consumers to buy the things they needed.


Now, she's turning her attention to creating digital products that can tell small businesses what they need to do to help the planet.

Bloomfield has a unique window into the challenges businesses face from her time working at Jet.com and Walmart -- two companies that led the charge against Amazon in retailing.


Now, with Sustain.Life, she's trying to help the companies that don't have the kind of resources of Walmart or Jet to understand how they can attract customers, reduce risk, and restore the planet with a set of easy accounting tools and a freemium model akin to Slack.


Using Sustain.Life, any employee at a small business can educate themselves on the ways to reduce their carbon emissions and find tools to calculate exactly what their business' carbon footprint looks like.


It's a way to provide visibility and accountability for companies that can't afford an outside consultant -- and potentially a way for engaged employees to embark on a new career path that could be useful inside an organization or beyond it.


To be sure there are other accounting tools out there for businesses. Companies like Watershed and Persefoni have raised tens of millions (if not hundreds of millions of dollars) to provide these kinds of services.

"Persefoni is working with financial institutions and Watershed is looking at large corporations and their supply chain and we're looking at smaller more nascent businesses that are climate curious," said Bloomfield. "They know that they have some sort of emissions footprint or environmental footprint that they want to improve. We’re focused on that earlier stage education into sustainability program management."


Now in an open beta for interested companies or individuals, Sustain.Life offers benchmarking tools and guidelines for setting up plans to reduce emissions. The company also pitches offset tools for businesses to provide ways to balance out carbon emissions for business air travel and commuting.


Most of the app, though, is focused on reducing emissions, which aligns with most of the guidance on what companies actually need to do to contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.


"If you can get people thinking about: 'Oh we could do this slightly more efficiently or slightly more sustainably', it has these bleed over effects," Bloomfield said.


Already the company has 600 users, mostly using the free tier of its service.


"It’s great that people are thinking about it as a major corporate decision. The bet we made as people go away to get buy-in from their leadership. there are questions that need to get asked along the way," Bloomfield said. "Can we get you engaged now on free tier so that we can be part of your journey to get that buy-in… You have already been working with us for several months and can we engage you in that sales cycle so we are the natural partner when you’re ready to take that next step."


There's certainly a demand for these types of services. To make a significant dent in greenhouse gas emissions, small and medium-sized businesses can advocate for more renewable energy to power their operations, use electric backup power systems, advocate for their buildings to make sure HVAC systems are upgraded and updated, and more.


Thinking about efficiencies in supply chains, energy consumption, logistics and shipping of goods and services are just some of the steps that transformed Jet and Walmart into multi-billion dollar businesses. Bloomfield is now bringing tools to small businesses so they can make similar strategic choices.

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